Houston Chef of the Month for December: Austin Simmons
HOUSTON – Originally from Texas, Executive Chef Austin Simmons took to the toque at the tender age of eight. As a child growing up in Arlington, Texas, he bonded with his mother while they made dinner together after she arrived home from her first job of the day and before departing for her second.
Upon high school graduation, Simmons immediately pursued a culinary degree attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin. When Simmons graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, he moved to Dallas in hopes of working at the famed Mansion on Turtle Creek. Turned away almost daily over the course of several weeks due to his lack of restaurant experience, his persistence finally paid off, and he was offered an internship.
It was at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, where Simmons found a reverence for fine dining, in addition to a respect of the skills and success of master chefs. Simmons worked the chef's table at The Mansion for three and a half years, first honing his craft under James Beard Award winning chef Dean Fearing, and later, under John Tesar.
In 2009, after his stint at The Mansion, Simmons learned the management side of the restaurant business at Blackfinn in Dallas. With a desire to return to fine dining, Simmons left Dallas for The Woodlands to assist Chef John Tesar open his eponymous restaurant, Tesars Modern Steak & Seafood. Upon Chef Tesar's departure from the restaurant, Simmons caught a once-in-a-lifetime break, and with the support of the ownership, management and customers, all of whom they have built strong relationships with, jumped on the opportunity to lead and redirect the kitchen in their newfound positions.
In 2010, following the closing of Tesars, Simmons was quickly invited to join the culinary team at newly opened Hubbell & Hudson Bistro, where by 2012 he was promoted to executive chef. Simmons was instrumental in elevating the level of cuisine by introducing a Pan Asian menu, that highlights his classic French technique. Adamant in wanting to tell a story through his cooking, Simmons is very simplistic in delivery using light, but flavorful ingredients that allows the natural flavors of the food to express themselves.
Chef Austin Simmons has been influential in growing the culinary footprint of the Hubbell & Hudson brand, and established Cureight in 2015, the only Chef Tasting concept in North Houston. Texas Monthly Magazine named Cureight as one of Top 10 Best New Restaurants in Texas. Hubbell & Hudson Kitchen, a fast-casual concept launched in The Woodlands back in 2011 is also driven by Simmons’ culinary creativity.
Austin Simmons has received many accolades in the past, including the Houston Press’ Up-and-Coming Houston Chefs in 2015 and recently won Dr. Delicacy's Truffle Master in 2018.
In September 2018, Hubbell & Hudson brands transitioned from:
- Hubbell & Hudson Bistro to TRIS | triswoodlands.com
- Hubbell & Hudson Cureight to Cureight | cureightwoodlands.com
- Hubbell & Hudson Kitchen to The Kitchen | thekitcheninthewoodlands.com
Chef Simmons treats his team and restaurant like his own family. Which is why the Bistro was renamed and relaunched as TRIS, the name of his own beloved daughter. Chef Simmons said: “TRIS wouldn't run with the same love and commitment that makes it so special to the community.”
In addition to cooking, Simmons passion is to develop younger chefs to discover their own talents in the same way that he was encouraged.
For more information, please follow Chef Austin on:
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